First appearance of the earliest Sinhalese grammar in print
The Sidath Sangarawa, a grammar of the Singhalese language,
translated into English, with introduction, notes, and appendices. Colombo William Skeen, Government Printer 1852
First edition. 8vo (21 x 14 cm), pp.[iv], cclxxxvi, 247, folding table. Bound in worn contemporary half calf, spine faded, hinges cracked but holding. Contents lightly age-toned. A decent copy of an important book. Pencil initials of C.H.B. Reynolds.
First appearance in print of Vedeha's Sidat Sangarava, the earliest extant Sinhalese grammar, composed in the 13th-century. This important work was edited and translated by the colonial official James de Alwis to promote the study of Sinhalese by Europeans. The first half of the book comprises a long critical essay, sketching the history of Sinhalese language and literature, with numerous excerpts from classical prose and poetry. The second contains de Alwis' English translation with original Sinhalese text. James de Alwis (1823-1878) was one of the first students educated at Colombo College; he went on to play a prominent role in the island's administration, serving on the Legislative Council, and writing a number of books on Buddhism and linguistics.